New series on TNT, Men of a Certain Age.
I thought the premise sounded interesting, and I liked the actors cast, so I tuned in.
Basically, it's a show about three men, long-time friends, who are now middle-aged and dealing with lives that didn't turn out nearly as well as they hoped and expected.
On the face of it, they are all losers.
Played by Ray Romano, ("Joe"); Andre Braugher ("Owen"); and Scott Bakula ("Terry"), all three men have come to mostly-unrealized lives.
Joe owns a party store, is separated from his wife and children because he had a gambling jones, and living in a hotel. Also married, Owen sells cars at a dealership owned by his father, who takes every opportunity to shit on him. Terry is single, an actor who doesn't work much, and earns his living as a not-so-temporary temp. He hits on girls young enough to be his daughter.
Why, I wondered, would anybody want to watch such a depressing show?
Yeah, the actors are terrific in their portraits. How truly miserable Owen is when his father takes away his spiffy demo car and gives him a tiny hybrid because his sales numbers have dipped.
Joe can't stop betting, nor lying about it to his friends. He makes his bookie leave by the back door of his store, and forbids him from coming during work hours.
Terry almost gets run over by a driver on a cell phone who blows through a stop sign, and when he tracks the guy down and goes to give him a piece of his mind, meets a young man holding a toddler that stops his rage in its track. Watching him try to stay mad makes you cringe.
Losers, living in loserville, sad and pathetic. And yet ...
Now and then, there is a little spark, a bit of hope that pops out and allows the trio to rise above their misery and, for a brief and shining moment, stand in a kind of muted glory.
Joe finds a girl at a party and realizes she wants to sleep with him. He doesn't, but it's a sign.
Owen tells his father off for treating him worse than the rest of his employees, and gets a better ride.
Terry manages to best another bad driver, and the theme from Billy Jack playing over as he does it is laugh-out-loud brilliant -- if you are old enough to remember the movie.
It's a better-to-light-one-candle-than-curse-the-darkness kind of story, and since I like that notion, the show works for me.
Romano is the producer and his role is, at least in the episode I caught, a little juicer, but I expect that all the guys will shine equally.
My slogan uptop is "If you do the best you can, nothing else matters worth a damn." I think this show offers that, sometimes, the best you can do might not be much -- but it's all you got.
Unfortunately, the show is on here opposite Castle, which has less substance than cotton candy, but which is way more fun and a guilty pleasure. That one is in reruns, and so Men might have a chance to catch an audience before the new season. It's got my attention.